THEATRE reviews

Arches Theatre Company

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byJim Cartwright


Wed lS-Sat 18 & Wed 22-Sat 25 October

8.00pm 2650/2350

'jim Cartwright is one of the mavericks u '

of British Theatre " \

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box office 0141 2214001

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Edinburgh: Royal Lyceum Theatre, until Sat 18 Oct ****

Behind you: Andy Gray and Gail Watson in Dead Funny

’Humour is odd, grotesgue and wrld/Only by affectation spoiled/'Tis never by invention got/Men have it when they know it not ' Rarely have SWift’s words applied more appropriately to a piece of theatre than to Davrd Robb’s production of Terry Johnson's farc ical social comech For all the imitation of the greats of British comedy it contains fill()hll(]iltf?(i by Andy Gray's superb Eric Morec'ambe), it is the inadvertent resemblance of the characters' lives to the Situations portrayed which gives


Glasgow: Cottier Theatre, Tue 7—Sat 11 Oct tr st

Ariel Dorfman's Olivier Award«winning play is fraught, dealing ‘.'.'liii the repercussions of a iiiglitrriarisli past so claustrophobic detail It is an a'nliitiaiis undertaking, riot least because any production will irie'atalriy l‘e cciiizpr‘ir‘ed to Polanski's filiii adaptation x'mtli S:I¥]()Ufllt‘y ‘y‘./eai.'-:‘-r and Kl'lflsiz".’ lrriplicitly set in Chile, the pla‘, centres on ciin rights ac_ti\.ists Paulina and Gerardo Escobat‘, and exaiiiiites the aftershocks of the dictatorship Persecution and torture are set against

rise to much humour and discomfort. Sexual frustration, impotence, homosexuality, dysfunctional relationships these are the primary concerns, the play points out, of the Hancocks, Howerds and Hills; and of many an apparently contented middle- class relationship.

The play deals with the failing marriage of Richard (Gray) and Elena (Jennifer Black) whose sex life has petered out, a source of frustration for the latter, who wants a baby, but soon. A Video-inspired attempt at nooky is interrupted by Brian (Robert Carr), who Surprises only his lifelong friends by a late announcement of his gayness, and Nick (Neil McKinven) and Lisa (Gail Watson), a couple whose marriage is undermined by the baby Eleanor craves. This group of friends plan a gathering to commemorate the recent death of Benny Hill, at which occur the kinds of revelations we've come to expect from these kinds of occasions, in these kinds of plays.

The play is beautifully performed and directed, Black in particular does well Wltil a difficult part. As the only member of this group who does not belong to the 'cleacl comic society’ which bonds the others, she provrcles a commentary on the absurd actions of those around her She points out that appreoation, rather than laughter, is the response of her husband to classic; comedy, and appreciation, folks, involves self- recognition lSteve Cramer)

increase the atmosphere It's hard to ayo'cl the feeling that these effects are add-ons compensating for the lack of real drama in the first scenes.

in the second act, however, the audience is finally allowed a glimpse into the horrors that have pushed Paulina to take drastic action. After a shaky start, Karen Pirie does achieve sortie «it the intensity and urgency that her rate as the dariiaged and desperate pauliria demands.

Ti’.{" relationship between the Escobars is shot-a: ill greater depth as Gerardo, torn between loyalty to his wrte and a need to follow the rules, becomes increasmgly vulnerable, caught in a triangle of guilt and accusation Dave Beririet gites the strongest perforrirance

: a backdrop of personal air-'1 political

g: ' criSis as lionoura'iile Gerardo, dedicated to "R The piece is stark and teiisioii-laden, the pursuit of iiistice, but still wracked 3‘; but East Kilbride~t> tseil Rapture Theatre with daubt and confusion As Doctor - , Company «seen at East Killiinle .‘xrts =’.‘:iraii:ia, Andy Williams has a difficult i ‘jttgm; imam it Centre) only manages to at brew this in role, but in the penultiiriate scene .3» i,i,‘}§';tl,£;: ti‘ , . ,A the second act V.’;t“i on: .' three succeeds with a convincing portrait of a

M“: J. - “i . '1" _N characters and an uricliazigzriz; set, the l‘-l.i'.'t ed :rito \.l()l(‘i'lC(’. 4‘ play needs nothing more than the Tit-a Utiitltlc’ilitil has both pain and

simplest of ti'eatriients, but ‘.'.’:t'~."t‘l'lll') pathos, iiut never guite recovers from American accents and oxeiiise at the lack of menace iii the opening incidental music distract rather than scenes lateSriiithi

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On a knife-edge: Karen Pirie and Andy Williams in Death And The Maiden

62 THELIST in Oct '23 do in;